Marijuana’s therapeutic effects have been scientifically explored for many years. It’s first documented use as a therapeutic agent dates back to 2,700 BC and medical journals from America and Europe published more than 100 articles on cannabis and its beneficial effects between the years of 1840 and 1900 (Zuardi, 2006). Marijuana was even a common component of the medical field in the United States up until 1942 when, despite objections by the American Medical Association, congress passed the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which federally restricted cannabis (Aggarwal, et al., 2009). The federal restriction was then later affirmed when cannabis was classified as a Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.
Cannabis’ Schedule 1 status causes hurdles for researchers, who must acquire a Schedule 1 research registration from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and typically a Schedule 1 research license from the state-controlled drugs agency. Researchers also have to obtain their cannabis material from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the sole source of research-grade cannabis that is federally lawful. These requirements can take three to six months, pushing out the starting date of research projects. These obstacles have hindered the volume of human clinical research and thus handicapped the collection of data on effectiveness, dosage, safety and delivery systems.